Customer Review

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars il deserto rossi, 4 Nov 2008
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This review is from: Red Desert (Il deserto rosso) [DVD] [1964] (DVD)
Red Desert (Il deserto rossi, 1964) is filmed in an industrial landscape filled with large machines, oil refinerys, garbage heaps, big buildings and so on. Despite this it is incredibly beautiful. The first shots show an industrial plant out of focus accompained to non-melodic electronic music, and the colours and forms reminds of abstract paintings, and Antonioni was inspired by modern art when he made this. His earlier films, L'Eclisse, L'Avventura and La Notte) also feels like paintings with beautiful compositions, but in Il deserto rossi this is abstract instead of hyper realistic, sometimes just layers of technicolor out of focus. This makes the movie visually unique I think.
The story is, I would say, about alienation, and also psychic illness/angst. Monica Vitti plays Guiliana, a young woman who is recovering mentally from a car crash. She doesn't have any good contact with her husband nor her son, and she becomes attracted to a business partner of her husband. This story is framed within the theme of modernity with big industries and business, and how they affect humans - clearly the environments they produce is not healthy, neither physically nor mentally. In the film we never see any 'normal' milieus, as in Antonionis other movies, like the life in an italian city or village. Instead the environment is cluttered and dominated by industry, somtimes a big boat is seen behind some trees or a window, and the only city streets we see are muted grey. This is comically enhanced when in one scene we see a street vendor, and he only sells grey stuff (even the fruits are grey!...I think it is supposed to be fruits...). So the scenes are very stylized, Antonioni even painted the grass in some shots...

The transfer of this DVD from Bfi is excellent, and a commentary track by a film scholar is included. Red Desert is a unique movie, and anyone interested in cinema or Antonioni should see or buy it.
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